Jay Jay Johnson - The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson (Blue Note Classic)
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Trombonist J. J. Johnson took the language of bebop and adapted it to his instrument, winning the admiration of Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker. After appearing on Miles Davis' first Blue Note session in 1952, Johnson was given the chance to lead his own dates in 1953 and 1954.
The first featured a sextet with Johnson joined by the brilliant trumpeter Clifford Brown, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, pianist John Lewis, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke who perform a varied program with up-tempo burners like "Turnpike" and beautiful ballads like "Lover Man."
For his next session Johnson went back into Van Gelder Studio to cut memorable takes of "Old Devil Moon," the percolating original "Coffee Pot," and more with a quintet featuring Wynton Kelly on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, Clarke once again on drums, and the conguero Sabu Martinez. The two sessions were later combined for the 12" release The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Volume 1 (BLP 1505).